Today, there’s a social network for just about every interest and demographic. People use social media for everything from landing a job to finding old friends, from promoting a business to pure entertainment.
For small businesses, social media can be a key driver for online marketing. One of the golden rules is to make it easy for people to help you spread the word about your business—and one-click social sharing buttons are as easy as it gets.
So you might think the more buttons, the merrier. If you offer enough social sharing buttons, anyone visiting your website will be able to instantly share your pages, posts and more with their friends, no matter which of the dozens of social networking platforms they use.
Unfortunately, it doesn’t work that way.
Too Many Social Sharing Buttons Can Backfire
If you’re displaying a big chunk of social sharing buttons that’s longer than some of your posts, you might come across as desperate—which can be a major turnoff for today’s online consumers.
Beyond that, offering so many choices can actually make the decision to share more complicated for visitors. You want to make things easy—and for people who use more than one social network (which is most of them), fewer is easier.
Finally, not all social media networks match your target demographics. If you run a B2B company, having people share your info on Reddit won’t do you much good.
Which Social Sharing Buttons Should You Use?
The best choices for social sharing buttons are those that will get you exposure to the widest possible audience that contains your target demographics. (An infographic from The Search Agents shows which networks are the most popular among what audiences.)
In some cases, your small business might benefit from an alternate sharing button, especially if you’re in a niche industry. But in general, the important connections to offer your visitors are:
The number one social network on the planet with 800 million users, including 2/3 of the population of the United States. Facebook is effective for sharing any and all types of content across a vast map of digital connections.
The second most popular site for sharing, Twitter is a must for small business because of the speed at which messages and links can travel. Catch the right audience, and tweets about your business could spread to millions in just a few hours.
An up-and-comer in the social networking world, having your content shared on Google+ gives you an advantage with the most used search engine in the world. The Google+ sharing button is especially important if your target demographics lean toward male—since more than twice as many males as females use this social network.
The network for business-related activity, LinkedIn is the professional heavy hitter. It’s a must for connecting with people in your industry and particularly useful if you’re scouting for fresh talent.
The original sharing button, including a quick email connection with your content ensures that all your bases are covered—even if you happen to have visitors who don’t use social media.
The popular image-based social network, is the best choice for small businesses with largely female target demographics. If your business relates to weddings, beauty, food, home, fashion, design, personal interests, or DIY, swap out Google+ for Pinterest in your social sharing button choices.
Social  Photo via Shutterstock